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Senate moves closer toward approval of bill regulating GOCCs

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The Senate has moved closer toward the approval of a proposed new legislation seeking to end the reported abuses in government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), advancing one of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s key policies in reforming and rationalizing the operations of state enterprises.

This as the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Senator Franklin Drilon filed a committee report recently to set up a wide ranging reform plan for GOCCs.

The committee report was signed by Drilon, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, Edgardo Angara, Gregorio Honasan II, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Manuel Villar, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Pia Cayetano, Francis Pangilinan and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Under Senate Bill No. 2640 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 sponsored by Drilon, new reasonable compensation packages for directors, trustees and employees of GOCCs will be established.

The Governing Commission for GOCCs, which will be created under the proposal, will have the delegated powers of Congress to reorganize the various boards and to set new compensation schemes for the directors and employees, subject to the President’s approval.

“This reform measure is a timely response to widespread criticism over the abuse of public funds by the directors, trustees and even employees of state-owned firms. This landmark legislation is part of our broader effort to put an end to the bleeding of government coffers,” Drilon noted.

The Senate is expected to tackle the measure, with Drilon eyeing its sponsorship in plenary next week.

All GOCC personnel shall be paid just and equitable wages, and generally comparable with those in the private sector, in accordance with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. Differences in pay shall be based on verifiable Compensation and Position Classification factors in regard to the financial capacity of the government.

No GOCC shall be exempt from the coverage of the new compensation system to be developed by the commission under the proposed legislation.

The monitoring body may also recommend, subject to the President’s approval, additional allowances for certain position titles, giving due consideration to the necessity for such allowances and the good performance of the state enterprise.

The bill’s approval in the administration-dominated Senate would highlight the widespread public frustration with the way state-owned enterprises operate, particularly in granting the members of the governing boards and some officials excessive allowances and bonuses despite the government’s tight fiscal position, said Drilon.

State companies came under scrutiny by Drilon’s committee, which also exposed officials of troubled government firms receiving unwarranted salaries and perks, particularly the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System when it operated on a negative revenue base but managed to grant generous perks to its employees.

President Aquino indicated that the Drilon bill was discussed during the full Cabinet meeting Tuesday as one of the administration’s priorities, ramping up support for the measure.

Earlier, Drilon said that after floor debates on the bill, the chamber will ask President Aquino to certify the bill as an urgent administration measure to pave the way for its swift approval.

By Jelly F. Musico-PNA




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